The burdock plant belongs to the genus Arctium and family Asteraceae. This genus consists of around five species, and the most widely used one is Arctium lappa. Natives to China, these plants are cultivated for their roots. The taproot of young plants are used for culinary purposes in some Asian countries. The roots of burdock plants can grow to a length of up to one meter, and a diameter of around two centimeters. These crispy roots have a mild sweet and tangy flavor. Even the tender flower stalks and leaves are used as food. It is also used in the traditional Chinese medicine. Burdock root is now available in various forms, like capsule, powder, tea, extract, tincture, etc.
Burdock roots contain high levels of dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, amino acids, and beneficial compounds, like polyphenols. They are low in calories too. 100 grams of cooked (boiled and drained) burdock roots contain approximately 2 grams each of dietary fiber and protein, 4 grams of sugar, 20 grams of carbohydrates, and no cholesterol. It has approximately 360 mg of potassium, 93 mg phosphorous, and 40 mg each of magnesium and calcium. It is also claimed that there are many compounds in burdock root extract, that are beneficial for the human body.
Apart from its culinary uses, burdock root has various medicinal properties too. As per the traditional Chinese medicine, burdock root can act as a diuretic, diaphoretic, and blood purifier. Burdock root oil extract, which is also known as burdock root extract, or bur oil, is widely used for scalp treatment. It is said that this extract can improve scalp conditions, like hair loss and dandruff. Recent studies suggest that burdock oil contains high levels of phytosterols and essential fatty acids, that can promote the health of the scalp and hair growth. Burdock root extract is also used as a blood purifier.
It is claimed to be a good diuretic, and is also beneficial as a topical remedy for skin problems, like eczema, acne, rosacea, psoriasis, etc. It is found to be effective in bringing relief from throat pain, tonsillitis, and cold. Exponents of this herb claim that burdock root tea is beneficial in alleviating certain symptoms associated with cancer. It is also believed that burdock root extract is good for detoxifying the liver and gallbladder.
In short, burdock is rich in nutrients, and is believed to be an effective herbal remedy for various medical conditions. However, it will be better to seek the opinion of your health care provider, before using burdock root extract. It may interact with other prescription medicines and may also affect the body's ability to absorb those medicines. So burdock root extract should not be used by pregnant women and diabetics. In some people, it may cause side effects, like loose stools and allergic reactions. If you want to use this herb for medicinal purposes, consult a qualified herbalist.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.